By Ray Conner
On Memorial Weekend, Sunday specifically, I was privileged to get my speed fix on the race tracks of Indianapolis and Charlotte.
I began the day listening to all the hype of the Indy 500 leading up to the start. The race itself was outstanding as the drivers of the open-wheeled cars slung themselves around the race course in speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour going down the straightaways. That’s fast any way you you look at it. In retrospect, that’s almost half the speed of a commercial airline plane, while the average speed of the race was 156 mph.
You often have heard that ‘speed kills’; well, a near disaster was aborted due to the high standard of safety equipment used on an Indy car. Scott Dixon went on a harrowing ride through the air after colliding with another driver. He would survive the wall, the fence and have his car land driver side down so perfectly that he was able to walk away with only minor bumps and bruises.
The deft and agility of these drivers to make passes, while keeping their cars hurtling around the race course at top end speeds, produced 35 lead changes during the race.
The excitement filled stands were boisterous on every lap and quiet in respect when the race was stopped to clean up the Dixon crash. With all the technology of today, a person sitting at home can enjoy the need for speed in the comfort of their own home. You can ride along with drivers, feel the impacts with instant replays, and watch as the drivers make their way around the race course as if you were sitting right beside the driver.
Needless to say, when the race was over, I was a little worn out, and all I did was watch these drivers circle the race course by turning left and left and left again.
Then, it was time to experience the NASCAR race. While these speeds are considerably slower, the heart pounding action of getting behind the wheel of a race car will definitely speed up the adrenaline.
The longest race of the year for the NASCAR drivers isn’t always about actual speed of the race car, but it helps. A winning driver must have speedy pit stops and speedy decisions when making those pit stops. It also helps to get up to speed after a pit stop. Watching the Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte was just as exciting as the speed at Indy. The race was exciting and it took courage for the eventual winner, Austin Dillon, who sped past Jimmie Johnson, who was out of gas to collect the win.
Television at this race also gives the viewer the chance to virtually get behind the wheel of a NASCAR car. The speed in which these drivers maintain and deliver is also quite the spectacle.
While there were no big crashes, there were a few small ones that slowed the speed way down. But each restart gave us a thrill as the driver got back up to speed and found the speed rhythm of the race track.
When the race was over and the speed fix accomplished it was time to settle back down and relax.
I did so by watching the following movies; Speed, Need for Speed, and finished up with Speed Racer.
So I will end this version of Conner’s Corner by wishing everyone God speed.